Monday, May 5, 2014

R.I.P. Dick Ayers

 Sad to report the passing of another legend, but Dick Ayers is no longer with us. The famed inker passed away earlier today at the age of 90. His thick, gritty inks on Kirby’s pencils helped to define the look of Marvel in the early Silver Age, so much so that when he took over the Sgt. Fury and Human Torch strips, you’d almost think Kirby had never left at first since Ayers’ inks had been such an integral part, but of course his own style shown through.
 Ayers was also more than just an inker, he was quite an accomplished artist in his own right. Besides making a name for himself on hundreds of war and western comic, he co-created the original Ghost Rider over at Magazine Enterprises in the 1940s and was so identified with the character that when Marvel launched their carbon copy version in 1967 (later renamed Night Rider and Phantom Rider to avoid confusion with Johnny Blaze) they got Ayers to draw it! Say what you will over how Marvel treated its artists, but that’s a nice gesture.
 Here’s “Hate Town” from Ghost Rider #9 (1952), a story drawn completely by Ayers on his own, where the ‘Scooby Doo” conclusion doesn’t detract at all from the atmosphere Ayers creates.

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